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(Image: PonyWang/iStockphoto)

(Image: PonyWang/iStockphoto)

The hype around big data and analytics has gone through cycles over the past couple of years, starting with excitement about how much data we have and the potential for it. That moment was followed by that let-down, "now what?" feeling after organizations put the storage and tools in place and found themselves wondering what to do with it. There are so many technologies and trends to track -- machine learning, AI, advanced analytics, predictive analytics, real-time analytics, Hadoop, Spark, other Apache Foundation projects, open source, cloud-based-as-a-service offerings, self-service, and more.

This past year was no exception. Everybody talks about the promise and the potential of big data. Yet there's a sense of disenchantment as CIOs search for use-cases to inspire change inside their own companies. They want to be shown, not told. They want the signal and not the noise.

We noticed that 2015 was a noisy year, and 2016 seems like it will be equally as loud. It's not something that CIOs can afford to tune out. With digital transformations and pure-play startups disrupting established industries -- Uber is the example everyone mentions first -- the pressure is on to leverage data in new ways for competitive advantage. CIOs need to straddle two different worlds -- satisfying their existing customer base while moving fast to deliver instant, data-driven services to customers, or they risk losing ground to market upstarts.

[What about big data and IoT? Read 14 Ways IoT Will Change Big Data and Business Forever.]

But how do you get from point A (lots of data) to point B (amazing business insights that give your organization a competitive advantage)? Will we get any closer to realizing that in 2016?

InformationWeek has spent the year asking those questions. We've spoken with CIOs, IT executives, corporate executives, vendor executives, and analysts about the trends in big data and analytics, so that we can turn down the noise a bit and offer you the signal. What are the trends and predictions in big data and analytics that CIOs need to know about for 2016? We've put together the following list. Did we miss any? Please add yours in the comments section below. 

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